By now, most of you know that you are now required to self-certify your medical qualifications with the state that issued your CDL. This is a Federal requirement that was pushed down to the states. Its intent is to phase out the requirement of having to carry a medical card: If you have a current CDL, it will be presumed you are medically qualified. For now, through at least all of 2014 however, you still have to carry your card.

Most drivers at Mercer have received a self-certification letter from their state DMV. The questionaire contained four questions and boxes to check. Mercer drivers should check box #1, which means you are “non-excepted interstate.” That questionaire, with a copy of your medical card, should be sent to your state. Different states have different procedures. Some must be mailed, some faxed, some can be done electronically. Florida has one of the best electronic systems out there, pretty quick and painless.

Some drivers have still not self-certified, or if they did, have since gotten a new physical and have not submitted their new card. If you are not current on your medical self-certification, your state may suspend your CDL or otherwise disqualify you. If that happens, it will show on your MVR. If you receive a roadside inspection you will be shut down and placed out of service until corrected, loaded or not. In addition, you get the CSA points (30) for driving while disqualified.

On February 1, the state of Indiana disqualified 7,160 drivers with Indiana CDLs that had not self-certified their current medical cards. So far this month, Mercer has placed nearly sixty drivers out of service when it was discovered on the annual review MVR that they had not self-certified. Mercer will not load or allow to operate any driver that has a suspended or cancelled CDL. If it happens to you, you are dead in the water until it is fixed, loaded or not.

It is important to note: MERCER WILL NOT DO THIS FOR YOU. The maintenance of your CDL is your responsibility. Having your CDL suspended for any reason is something you must deal with directly with your state DMV. It is just like a suspension for an unpaid ticket, no insurance on a personal vehicle or delinquent child support. These things are your problem, not Mercer’s. If you get placed out of service for a suspended CDL, you jeopardize your continuing relationship with Mercer, so guard it diligently. My staff has been instructed not to handle medical self-certs for drivers. Don’t ask. If we discover one, they, or me, will be calling you. You contact your state DMV. If you haven’t sent your medical card in, or you have had a new physical since you sent your previous card in, you should get in touch with your state DMV as soon as possible, like TODAY, to stay qualified. Don’t wait till the last minute and expect your state to get in a hurry for you. It probably won’t happen. Tax dollars at work. Enough said about this.

Several guys have asked about the twitter account and if it replaces the blog. The answer is that the blog will continue. It is just that some weeks I have very little time to blog, but can get something out fast on twitter. If you want to follow along, it is @MercerTrans_Len

On a different note, the ELD project is picking up steam. A lot of guys that were afraid of it have taken the plunge and found out that it isn’t the end of the world after all. More than 140 running now, another 100 on the waiting list. And Mercer is paying for it currently.If you are interested, call Rob Curry. He is running that project. Drivers with log violations are learning that not only do they have to come in for log orientation within thirty days but they also get to see me. Once. Multiple log violations earn a driver the choice of ELD or Alumni Society. The Mercer standard is clean inspections. Anything noted on a DOT Driver/Vehicle Examination report other than “no violations” is a problem with CSA, and with Mercer. “Just a warning” is a problem. DOT inspections with violations noted have consequences for drivers at Mercer.

Remember, Mercer drivers are the best. But being the best carries an enormous responsibility to remain the best. You have to work at it every day. Polish your craft. Be safe.